Guest Post: That Certain Breed Known as Runners

Today’s Guest Post comes from one of my IRL friends, we started running more seriously around the same time and she is gearing up for her first half-marathon! I am so excited to see her accomplish this goal. Please give some love to Liz and visit her blog!

(And because we are in the process of moving & the drive my photos are on is packed you get only the photo I steal from her website muahaha)

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I’ll state it right up front. I’m newish to this whole running thing. I’ve run some races. I’ve attended the post-race beer tent parties. I’ve slogged out runs in the snow, rain, humidity, crisp air and anything else New England can throw at me. It’s mostly short races or just jogging around the neighborhood for the last 18 months. And in that short time, I’ve had some ups and downs. I’ve started training plans and bailed on them. And I’ve started training plans and stuck to them. All on the quest to become a runner.

I’m still figuring out pacing and am still run/walking at various intervals so I mostly run solo. I’m a little afraid of holding back a fellow runner or trying to keep up and falling flat on my face. But I will say. No matter if I’m running alone or with a buddy, when my shoes are laced up and I’m out putting in the miles I’m surrounded by friends. They’re just…stranger friends. It’s cool. They’re nice. Sometimes they even have cookies.
Every week I do a run or two on the treadmill and always do my cross training (the dreaded elliptical) in the fitness center in my office park. And every week on the same nights I see the same people. We exchange a brief head nod or smile and then go about our respective workouts, never really connecting other than knowing we’re both there to a) lose weight b) stay fit c) burn off stress or d) all of the above. It’s become routine. And expected. And encouraging. Because all I can ever think is that we are all there week in and week out while our co-workers are home. On their couches. BAM. We win.

Out running in my neighborhood on the weekends I’ll run by two or three people. If I run down around the pond that number turns into 20 or 30. And in the summer it’s too many to count. And to everyone there is a quick acknowledgement; a smile, a wave, a nod, or (my favorite) a high five. Especially when I’m fading and probably look like a passerby should call an ambulance instead of waving, these quick exchanges give me a little boost.

This part of running wasn’t something I expected. I knew that running, like most hobbies, was a great way to connect with people. Find out someone else runs for fun and watch how quickly you’re swapping bad race stories and your favorite training tips (mine are limited, but what I lack in quantity I try to make up for in quality). But I didn’t know runners were open to that connection while they’re out training or at a race. As it turns out, runners are a special breed and anyone who chooses to spend precious free time pounding pavement or gravel can claim the distinction of “runner”. For a while I didn’t believe that. I thought “well, I want to be a runner. But really I’m just a run/walker for now.” I’ve now learned that type of thinking is LIES. Runners are very welcoming. It’s sunny, raining, snowing, sleeting, doing all of them at once, it’s 95 degrees, it’s 11 degrees, your legs feel like lead, your legs are springs upon which your body is floating through the air (I’ve only experienced this for about 5 minutes. Total. In all my running. But I hear it happens a lot more as I start running more), you can’t focus, or your mind is like a steel trap, no matter what you’re feeling, if you are putting one foot in front of the other, you are a runner. And no one can take that away from you. And, as I’ve learned, no one actually wants to.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is this: When someone asks why I run, it’s not really to be fit or because I want to run a marathon someday (both true). It’s because runners are BOMB. And why wouldn’t I want to spend as much time around that zany, nerdy, disciplined, fun, and exhilarating energy as I possibly could??

Guest Post: Motivation

Today’s guest post is Molly, she is going to share with you what motivates her. I am motivated to get out there and run by myself, just by seeing her run with her girls! Enjoy her post and leave her some love!

My name is Molly Ritterbeck and I blog over at Miss Molly and I am so blessed to be writing as a guest today!

Stroller win

What I am going to talk about today is motivation. What motivates you? Let me tell you about what motivates me!

I am a working mother who has two beautiful daughters and a husband that serves in the military — that is enough stress in itself isn’t it? Well, let me tell you with the bills that come with kids and life in general and job changes to boot I was getting stressed. My tension headaches, anxiety, and sore shoulders (my stress goes straight to my shoulders) I just didn’t know what to do. I was also starting to really lose myself in taking care of everything and everyone else that I was kind of fighting off some depression. I didn’t want to turn to medicine and I knew if I went to a doctor that is what I would get.

My husband told me I needed to get active and change my diet — but I was never going to do something because I was told – I needed to do it for myself. I had friends who went back and forth with new diet fads (meal plans, pills, prescription pills, etc) and I saw how they aged, fought self confidence issues, and more. I didn’t want to be like that. Being a gymnast for over 8 years I thought I was still in shape despite not doing anything for a long time… so I decided one day to run a 5K with NO training. Not one of my brightest moments, I paid for that for a couple days after.

As I was sitting in pain one of the days after I was mad. I was mad that I couldn’t do it. I was mad that Nick finished in 21 minutes and came back and ran half of it with me again. I didn’t need his help to finish. I didn’t want his help to finish ever again. I was going to do this. I started running little by little and building distance. I found friends to do it with me. I joined a running club. People were motivating me who didn’t even know me. I was not the best but they didn’t care at all. They thought it was awesome to do what I could and so did I.

Running FOTT

I also started to notice the pain in my shoulders was gone, the anxiety was gone, and the headaches were gone. I had energy and could get more accomplished in the day. I was happier and was eating better. I was becoming what I had wanted and it was all because I didn’t want to be beaten. My motivation was to not be beaten.

I only had one moment of doubt and that was when my friends started to notice that I was losing weight and asked about it. Since I do not weigh myself very often at all (the gymnast in me swore I would never worry about a scale again), I had no clue — and I honestly said I didn’t think I had lost much so I couldn’t tell them. One of my friends stopped and looked at me and said, “Well what’s the point if you aren’t losing weight?” I stopped in my tracks. Wow – what was the point I thought. The best part is — it only lasted a moment and I was able to say, “The point is I feel better, and I now know I can do anything I put my mind to.”

I was mad at my friend for asking such a shallow question, but at the same time I was glad that I could answer her with the right answer and not a shallow one.

My motivation is myself and my family. It will never be to get to a number on the scale, but maybe to fit in my jeans better. It will never be to in the “in crowd” and be skinny because lets be real — strong is the new skinny. I will be strong for myself and my family.

So tell Molly & I: what motivates you?

Guest Post: Finding Your Happy Pace

While I am frantically unpacking and trying to get settled in the new house before the holidays, I have a few guest posts lined up for you all. The first guest blogger I have for you is Darlena, she is the blogger behind Run Find Your Happy Pace. The concept is something I can totally get behind, running your pace for you and supporting all other runners regardless of their speed.

Darlena is going to share her thoughts on how to find that Happy Pace, enjoy and show her some love!

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First let me say a big Thank You to Kelly for letting me share my thoughts on Goal Setting with her followers. I also have a “slight” cupcake addiction…um I mean love, so she and I have a few things in common.

Setting Goals for 2013, It’s a Good Thing…

So here we are in December heading toward the end of another year. Its time to get ready to turn the page, start fresh, time to set our sites on 2013. And a great way to do that is setting some goals for the year to come.

I think goal setting (to quote Martha Stewart) “It’s a good thing” And you know what else is a good thing? Writing your goals down. Yup get a list and sit down. Its time to take a look at yourself and where would you like to be at this time next year? Healthier, stronger, faster? And it’s not just about running and fitness. Remember we are on a journey to “Find your Happy Pace in running AND life!” So include non-fitness related goals too, maybe there’s something you always to learn, a place you want to visit, or simply a book you have never had the time to read. Write them down. Wouldn’t it be nice to look back at your list around this time next year and say YES! I did that!?

For me writing things down makes me more accountable to ME.

And please note:

  • you DO NOT have to share this list with anyone
  • you DO NOT have to complete every goal on your list

Consider it an outline, a “rough draft” if you will, of where you want to be. Below is a blank list I set up , feel free to print it and use it or make one of your own. I have listed both fitness/health and an other important goal sections.

Sometime between now and the New Year…take some time,

write down YOUR goals and get ready to

“Find YOUR Happy Pace” in 2013

2013 goals

Follow Darlena’s blog or keep up with her on
Twitter or Facebook

Elf 4 Health: Round One

Right now we are moving into our new house and it is hopefully going very smooth, even with the rain that is predicted.

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I’m coming for you!

I have an awesome week and a half of guest posts lined up, so I hope you come back and show some love! Before we get to those I want to show some love for the wonderful Elf 4 Health project that Lindsay and Elle started.

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I got paired up with the awesome, Leila from Spinach and Skittles. We, scarily, had a ton in common. Both teachers, she has a little one, I have B. Plus, we were able to bond over the fact that I am currently living with my in-laws and she lived with hers prior to moving into her house. It was great to talk to someone who understood exactly what I was going through.

Note: I love my in-laws, it’s just hard being in someone else’s house.

So what were the challenges?

WEEK ONE

Monday: Go meatless

I had my usual breakfast of oatmeal and peanut butter. Lunch was salad and Dinner was spinach and rice, salad and beans.

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Tuesday: Send a handwritten card or note

I wrote a letter to my sister, she has yet to receive it so I will leave it at that.

Wednesday: Try a new workout

I didn’t do terribly great with this one. I took B for a walk around the mall and did some walking lunges and squats, while it was a new workout, it wasn’t what I would quantify as a real workout.

Thursday: Get up 15 minutes early and meditate

Fail. B had been waking up a lot because of teething, I slept in as late as he did.

Friday: How many colors can you eat.

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Breakfast was the usual oatmeal.

Snack 1: was Greek yogurt with Honey.

Lunch: 1/2 slice of turkey, 1 egg, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, a smear of avocado on sourdough bread.

Snack 2: 1/2 cup of spinach and rice

Dinner: Chicken Noodle soup with carrots and celery and a small salad with grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, eggs, cheese and peppers.

Weekend: Clean our your closets and make a donation

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Since we just moved out of our condo this wasn’t really possible, but I did donate bags of stuff during our move. Counts right?

WEEK TWO

Monday: Track your fiber

I can’t seem to find that photo, grr, but I was able to get to 27g, not as high as I was hoping, but still a good amount.

Tuesday: Make your own salad dressing

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I always make my own. Leila was also kind enough to share some of a family recipe, I can’t wait to make it once I am settled.

Wednesday: Pack a healthy snack for you and a friend

Uh, fail? I packed snacks that night, as we would be driving to Boston the next day for only a few hours then driving back to CT, for Nick, B and I.

Thusday: Lift some weights

Again, a fail. We were on the road by 7 am, in Boston for a few hours. Then we got stuck behind a bad accident on the way back to CT (2 hr drive took over 4), so we didn’t get back until dinner time. Although I did carry B around all day on Thursday, so still sorta counts ha.

Friday: Wear no makeup

This one was pretty easy, I am blessed with great skin, as long as I take care of it. As a stay-at-home-mom I usually only wear mascara and lip gloss on a daily basis, so I went without.

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Lunch with B

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Out to dinner with friends

Weekend: Plan the next weeks meals and workouts

I needed this, moving into a brand new house with a toddler I need to be very precise on what to buy and what I am making so I have enough food and don’t waste anything.

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Meal planning while catching up on Nashville

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planned workouts – tentative, but a basic breakdown.

Unpacking counts as a workout right?

I think I did pretty decent, and it was nice to have someone to chat with and to keep me on track. Leila also sent me so many recipes that are simple so once I move I am not spending a ton of time cooking elaborate meals and can unpack pretty fast! So sweet of her!

I am looking forward to the next few weeks and I am matched up with fellow Bostonite, Lindsay, from Authentic Losing.

Playlist Thursday: High School Jams

I am linking up with Pavement Runner today. I LOVE his music posts, mostly because I am always looking for new running songs to add to my playlist, but because of the format of his posts. I know I have been MIA…again on Playlist Thursday for awhile but I am going to try to make sure I keep linking up, it is one of my favorite link ups!

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Today’s theme is: High School Jams. This means, the current song is current from your high school. So for me that mans between 1998 and 2002. Yikes. High School was okay for me, lots of ups, lots of downs, and lots of learning. Mostly outside the classroom.

SOMETHING OLD

Artist: Kenny Loggins
Title: Footloose
Side Note: I refuse to see the remake of this movie, it is much too soon.
Quotable: We got to turn me around. And put your feet on the ground. Now take a hold of the phone. Whoa, I’m turning it loose

SOMETHING CURRENT

Artist: Backstreet Boys
Title: Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
Side Note: I was your classic boy band lover, boy bands you probably haven’t even heard of (or remember). Examples: 5ive, Mytown, Youngstown, No Authority, Westlife, etc… But BSB was my first…that sounds weird, and they were the first concert, I ever saw. Also, this video…classic, and Nick’s hair, woah buddy.
Quotable: Now throw your hands up in the air. And wave ‘em around like you just don’t care. If you wanna party let me hear you yell. ‘Cause we’ve got it goin’ on again

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER

Artist: Nelly
Title: Hot in Herre
Side Note: Always loved the rap, still love the rap, still know all the lyrics.
Quotable: Lookin for the right time to flash them keys. Then um I’m leavin, please believin. Me and the rest of my heathens

The Tank

Life is about to get real crazy!

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Please ignore the grass issue and orange cone.

This is our new house, at least it will be on Monday. We had a pretty frustrating search, of finding something to meet all our requirements, and we happened to come up on this new construction house. It was early enough that we were also able to customize a good chunk of it.

However, this all means that this little blog of mine is going to take a backseat for a week or two, because we will have no internet for awhile so that I can unpack. I will have some great guest posts for you and hopefully I will have some posts written in advance.

But until then, we have been spending time with our friends. We LOVE trivia, and the Hooters near Nick’s parents has trivia weekly, so of course we went.

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Meet the Tank.

I did not participate in the drinking of this, because I was recovering from a cold and because it was Coors Light…enough said.

Hooters actually has pretty decent salads, so I got my usual chicken salad but I also indulged in one of my favorite things.

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Fried Pickles. I actually hate regular pickles, but love fried pickles.

We did horrible in trivia, but it is always nice to see our Connecticut friends and spend time together, it doesn’t happen nearly enough.

Earlier this week B and I also took a trip to the money suck known as Target.

First – the Neiman Marcus collection is so underwhelming. The little girls dresses are gorgeous, but other than that, meh.

I did find this gem though…
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Trying to decide which lucky girl gets. Fight it out ladies.

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B hates the top part of the cart, so finally I allowed him to sit in the base part. For only about 5 minutes, and then he refused to get out. Apparently the base part is the fun part?

Also, I think it’s important to note that I got out of Target spending only $40 and only purchasing ONE thing that I wasn’t planning on buying.

Today, I am taking B to see Santa, I didn’t do it last year so I am not sure how he is going to react.

Runner’s Preferences and a Sparkly Soul Discount

Remember when I gave you my list of items to buy for the new runner that are under $100?

Guess what? One of my mentors for Team In Training, now currently training for the Boston Marathon is holding a fundraiser with my favorite headbands, Sparkly Soul, from Sunday, December 2nd until Sunday, December 9 2012 you can get 10% off your order and 15% of the total order will go to Jess’ fundraising. All you need to do is use the code JESS as the promo code.

If you want to see some colors check out my collection, so far:

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From L to R: Maroon, Orange, Green, Teal, Purple (Lavender), Kaleidoscope Pink, White, Black, Silver, Red White and Blue.

Now for the fun runners survey. I saw this on Madeline’s blog last week and I thought it would be great to share my thoughts too!

1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?

Shot Bloks are my favorite by far and they don’t bother my stomach. Sports beans are a close second.

2. Race Length: 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?

A 10K is my ideal race, in terms of distance and time it takes me to complete. My favorite race is a half marathon.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants, or Other?

Capris. You will never not find me wearing them. Although I will throw a Team Sparkle skirt on fora little flair.

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?

When I am running I alternate between water and nuun, if it is hot. Usually I drink water while running then hydrate with a nuun cocktail after my run.

5. Running temperatures: HOT or COLD?

Neither? I prefer 40’s or 50’s, which I guess is cold for some. I like that its not too cold, but that when I warm up I am not too hot.

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics, or Other?

I used to live in my Brooks, but since my feet have changed since I had B, I haven’t found a shoe I love. I currently have Asics, but I am dying to get my hands on a pair of Nike’s that the gait analysis folks at the Nike Expotique fitted me for. They were great for my foot and super lightweight.

7. Pre-Race Meal: Oatmeal. Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?

I usually eat a plain bagel thin with plain peanut butter and a drizzle of honey or the Peanut Butter & Co. Bee’s Knees peanut butter.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?

Usually 1 – 2 times a week, it really depends on my mileage, what I am training for and life. As much as I would love to, I can’t plain my training to a T, life just sometimes gets in the way.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?

I can go either way, if I am on the treadmill or running in a race alone I usually have it, although I ran without it for the entire Nike Half. I guess let’s just say I won’t be heartbroken if I am required to run without it.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or other?

I run because I love it. I didn’t used to love it. I started running because it was a convenient and “easy” way to workout. I love the alone time, I love the feeling of accomplishment with each new race distance completed and every new PR. I love the high, endorphins make me happy (and happy people don’t shoot their husbands ;))

Why do you run?